The following are good questions to ask a prospective service provider (member guidance is included in this section for provider reference):
What is the provider’s mission? (Does it match the intent you are seeking?)
Is the provider certified, accredited, or licensed? What are the standards of service?
What kind of safety measures does the provider have in place to protect and assure treatment?
How does the provider assure compliance with the person’s rights? Did you (and family members and advocates) receive copies of your rights as a consumer of services, as well as have these rights explained?
Is the provider interested in what you and your family member want or dream about?
Is the provider connected to other programs that you may need, such as day support, local school and education services, or work programs? How is the provider connected? Ask for specific contacts. If you are to live in a home shared with other people, can families drop in whenever they wish?
How are birthdays, vacations, and special events handled?
How would family money issues be handled? What is the policy on personal and client finances? How would minor illnesses and injuries be handled? What about major illnesses and injuries? What information is routinely reported to families?
Can you get a copy of the provider’s complaint policies and procedures? Is there someone else whom family members can talk to if there is a disagreement?
How are behavior problems handled? Are staff allowed to contact a behavioral support provider? How are new staff trained on the behavior support plan? Are they trained before working with waiver participants? What is the relationship between residential provider and behavioral provider? How is medication handled? What happens if medication is refused?
What is the smoking policy?
How are planning meetings scheduled and conducted, and who attends? Can a family member call a meeting? How does the provider assure that what is agreed on in the meeting is actually provided? Who would be the provider’s contact person, how will that contact occur, and how often? Is someone available 24 hours a day in case of emergencies?
How many people with disabilities has the agency terminated or discontinued from services? Why? What happened to them?
Has the agency received any abuse or neglect allegations? Who made these allegations? What were the outcomes? What is the process for addressing allegations of abuse or neglect?
What challenges does the provider think the waiver participant will create for him or her?
As a provider of waiver services, what are the provider’s strengths and weaknesses?
What is the process for hiring staff? Are background checks conducted and training given? What happens to the waiver participant while a new staff person is hired and trained?
How is direct staff supervised? What training does the staff receive? What is the average experience or education of staff?
How is staffing covered if regular staff is ill? What happens if staff does not show up for the scheduled time? How often does it happen?
What is the staff turnover rate? How are staff’s respite needs handled?